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Review: Ginger Nation (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

January 27th, 2015

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Shawn Hitchins’ one man show was “funny yet moving” at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

I sat down in my seat for Ginger Nation by Shawn Hitchins and looked around the room. I was not used to seeing Buddies in Bad Times Theatre looking so calm. On Saturday nights the theatre opens its doors as a bar and dance club. I was so accustomed to the speakers blasting 90’s hits and glorious drag queens strutting down the main staircase. This version of “Buddies” was toned down, but it had just as much spirit as the Saturday night crowd. I left the theatre just as elated as I do when I dance the night away.

The show opened with who I thought was an overly-enthusiastic Emcee. Soon I found out that it was Diana Love, the opening comedian. Love can only be described as a delightful weirdo. She introduced herself to the room as “your best friend for the next twenty minutes.” She did feel like a close friend who really lets loose over pitchers of sangria. She flipped from silly jokes about her hometown in P.E.I to lewd jokes about her sex life. Every punch line was followed by a laugh like she was shocked that she confessed that to a room full of people. By the end of her set, I was trying to wipe the tears from under my glasses.
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Toronto Playlistings for the Week of January 26th, 2015

January 26th, 2015

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Shows That Caught Our Eye This Week

Finish your January in style – go see some theatre! Here’s a list of all the shows that caught our eye that are playing in Toronto this week. Anything highlighted in red with two asterisks before it particularly caught the eye of our Founding Editor, Megan.

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Review: Blood Relations (Alumnae Theatre Company)

January 26th, 2015

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Blood Relations takes a chilling look into the Lizzie Borden murders at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto

Alumnae Theatre‘s latest production, Blood Relations, takes on the infamous and bloody tale of Lizzie Borden, the young lady who was tried and later acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, and projects it ten years in the future. In this imagined future, Lizzie and her friend and lover, known only as “Actress”, play a mind game where Actress takes a stroll in Lizzie’s shoes during those critical few weeks leading up to the murder in order to answer the question ‘could Lizzie have done it?’

It was this very interesting take on the famous murder case that instantly piqued my curiosity having long been fascinated by the trial. Having now seen this production, I can honestly say I was blown away.

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Review: A Steady Rain (Paper Moon Productions)

January 26th, 2015

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A Steady Rain Anthony Parise John Palmieri

A Steady Rain is a Evocative, Colourful and Subdued

Playing at Leslieville’s The Grocery, A Steady Rain by Keith Huff is a riveting tale of two troubled cops. You’ll be hanging on to their every word. They face the horrors of Chicago criminal life as well as their own chronic, personal battles. Despite their best intentions, everything at home and on the beat goes wrong, and things progressively get worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Don Giovanni (Canadian Opera Company)

January 26th, 2015

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Canadian Opera Company’s New Staging of Don Giovanni Misses the Mark

The curtain on the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart came up to stark silence at a somber family meeting. The audience had just been informed via projected text that we could expect a different performance of this tried and true classic. In the opera’s usual plot, three narrative strands about three objects of Don Giovanni’s prodigious desire converge into a perfect storm at the opera’s close. In this production, the principal characters were all members of a very wealthy, contemporary extended family. The action took place in a single set – the sitting room of the patriarch’s mansion. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Small Axe (Project Humanity and The Theatre Centre)

January 23rd, 2015

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Andrew Kushnir’s Small Axe Rocks Our World

Playwright Moss Hart is reputed to have said “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” His stance, and that echoed later by film directors of such note as Frank Capra, is that theatre might entertain or explore but that work with a message to impart is destined to be boring. With Small Axe, a coproduction of The Theatre Centre and Project Humanity, Andrew Kushnir has proven Hart decisively, irrevocably wrong. What’s more, he does so using a collection of theatrical elements that often spell disaster, but which apparently (to no one’s surprise more than mine) can in the right hands be combined to make a deeply affecting theatrical experience.

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Review: Une Vie Pour Deux/Love and Other Fragments (EspaceGO and Theatre Francais de Toronto)

January 23rd, 2015

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Secrets are revealed when a couple discovers a body in Une Vie Pour Deux on stage at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre

Every so often a production takes a difficult discussion and uses it to reveal the flaws in our way of thinking. Une Vie Pour Deux (Love and Other Fragments) is a joint project by Espace GO and Theatre Francais de Toronto at the Berkeley Street Theatre is a work that dives into its subject and delivers a solid night of theatre.

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Review (Kid +1): Alex in Wonderland (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)

January 23rd, 2015

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Shadow puppets help bring Alex in Wonderland to life at the Solar Stage Children’s Theatre in Toronto

Alex in Wonderland

Alex in Wonderland at Toronto’s Solar Stage Children’s Theatre is full of colourful characters that are sure to please the kindergarten set. Its adaptation by Derek Genova includes a good dose of audience participation, too.

The play begins with Alex’s long fall into the rabbit hole, vividly evoked using shadow puppets. It was a captivating downward journey that made the young audience go quiet as we listened to Alex’s narration and slightly scary sound effects. I think the kids thought the puppets were just plain cool, as we saw Alex drop down and meet objects and other characters along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bells are Ringing (The Confidential Musical Theatre Project)

January 21st, 2015

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The cast of CMTP's productiion of Bells are ringing.

The Confidential Musical Theatre Project wows Toronto audiences with Bells are Ringing for their third production

Last Thursday a friend and I went to see Bells are Ringing, the latest production from The Confidential Musical Theatre Project. We didn’t know that we were going to see Bells are Ringing; that’s the confidential part. The audience doesn’t find out what musical is being performed until it starts. And the cast members don’t meet each other until an hour before the performance.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review: BOOM (Mirvish/Kdoons/Wyrd Productions)

January 21st, 2015

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Mirvish presents BOOM in Toronto, a solo show documenting the baby boom starring Rick Miller

BOOM, written, directed and performed by Rick Miller is an interesting beast. The show is sort of a live documentary about the lives and times of the baby boom generation; the large cohort born after the Second World War. BOOM is part history lesson, part nostalgia trip, part musical tribute concert and part multimedia slide show. It’s not nearly as academic an exercise as it sounds and it’s surprisingly entertaining. Read the rest of this entry »